Dear friends, backers, supporters and well-wishers,
There are a handful of hours left on the clock but I think we can all see the outcome. What a ride it has been. But it's OK! Together we've taken an exciting, gruelling, and enlightening journey over the last month. We've created and released a tonne of content (including a demo and a house!) and received loads of useful feedback. We wouldn't change that for the world.
We would like to assure you all that you haven't seen the last of Death Inc! We are working extremely hard to make this beautiful, bonkers, original game a reality for you all.
Simply raise your pledge by the required amount and we'll sort it all out in the aftermath.
And there's more! Everyone who pledges £40 or more (approx $62) will also get to name a cow.
Disclaimer: This animal may or may not explode during the course of the game.
Death Inc. is not your typical strategy game. It's a unique mix of real-time strategy, god game and business sim, harking back to some of the classic Bullfrog games like Theme Park and Dungeon Keeper.
Simply paint your orders into the
world and unleash your infected minions on serfs, wenches and noblemen. Every human that falls will join the ranks of your pestilential horde.
In between battles, build your business empire on the bones of your victims and strive to become the greatest Reaper the
world has ever endured.
It's time to show the artistic side of infection and paint your way to the ruination of mankind. And a bigger office.
Every unit in your horde has a primal instinct to attack anyone and
anything not affected by the plague. People, cows, chickens... you direct it, they'll infect it.
But beware! Humanity's not going to go down without a fight. Your potential victims will defend themselves with sticks, swords, bows or muskets, even siege weapons; anything they can find.
You’ll face a variety of increasingly complex challenges through the game,
battling from quaint country villages to bustling seaside ports before finally
storming the castles and cities of England.
Overpower soldiers, archers, pikemen, musketeers, plague doctors and knights, turning each into a baneful weapon to overpower your enemies.
To learn more about the enemies you'll face in the game click here
Death Inc's fluid control mechanic allows you to quickly and simply paint orders directly in the world for
your horde to follow. Use broad brush strokes from afar to direct large swathes of infected, or zoom right in for pencil sharp accuracy. You'll be able to control your troops as you would in any other real-time strategy game, just with greater tactical finesse.
Here are just some of the challenges any Reaper faces, and how you might solve them:
Angry pitchfork wielding lynch mob: Two mouse strokes lets you split your horde and crush
the mob in a pincer movement.
Town crier scuttling to sound the alarm: Flank
him in one motion and cut him off with a wall of infected with the next.
Company of knock-kneed archers: Draw their fire
with peasant arrow fodder, charge your malignant cavalry into their rear
and watch them scarper.
A deadly rain of boiling oil streaming from a castle gate: Paint a simple circular
gesture to tell your infected to scatter.
Your enemies can be simply, deftly and brutally dealt with. Just like that.
In a few quick strokes
and gestures, you'll see exactly what your troops are going to do, where
they're heading and how they'll get there. Multitasking becomes
easy and adapting to the ebb and flow of battle, intuitive.
abilities make your battles even more dynamic, spectacular and bizarre:
Need to disrupt enemy defences? Just send some plague rats their way.
Farmers refusing to play along? Sabotage them with exploding livestock.
Villagers cowering indoors? Get them outside with a norovirus brunch.
Long range attack required? Unleash the pigeon pox! Those filthy skyvermin will be dive-bombing in no time.
Every level is a sandbox
for you to experiment with, with different strategies to try out and challenges
In between all the reaping,
Grim T. Livingstone returns to the Nether, Death Inc's base of operations. This begins humbly, but you'll soon need to expand it to cope with the needs of an international reaping corporation.
Harvested souls are the currency of the Nether. Spend them to upgrade troops and abilities, or to renovate your base of operations and make a personal statement about the business. Office furniture not only looks snazzy but can modify your in-game abilities too.
But why not hire lost souls as assistants? They'll increase your profits, ramp up your efficiency and can head out into the world to reap secondary targets.
Rise through the ranks of the Nether and become the top dog of the soul reclamation industry.
The project is at an early stage of development with plenty of
features still to finish. However, we already have working levels
in-game that demonstrate both the game's visual style and some of the gameplay
Everything you've seen so far has been built by our team in a short space of time. Achieving our target will allow us to build, refine and polish the remaining gameplay features and complete the art assets and levels needed in the final game.
We think Death Inc. is a fantastic fit for PC and Mac, and for Kickstarter. It's
an innovative and original take on the strategy genre, brimming with humour.
With your contribution
and assistance we can create an awesome game that will appeal to both new and
old fans of strategy and god games, without a publisher in the middle. We love that
Kickstarter allows us to build something new and different directly with you, the players.
It's only with your help
that we can make Death Inc. a reality. With your support we'll be able to deliver a fully realised single player campaign for Death Inc. Our experienced team have the knowledge and
most importantly the passion to be able to do
this by October 2013. Whatever distribution platforms the game ends up on, we will always provide a DRM-free option.
Raising more than our initial target will allow us to be even more ambitious with the game's design and in
turn create more great content for you. We have exciting plans for stretch goals, we'll reveal them when we get close to the target.
We'll be discussing the design of the game in our private backers' forums and you can help us to prioritise the features
that you're most excited about.
Ambient Studios is a small independent developer based in Guildford, UK, unexpected centre of the British games development universe. Founded in 2011 by Media Molecule alumni, Ambient now comprises 11 experienced, senior game developers, with pedigrees including LittleBigPlanet, the Fable franchise, Burnout and Need For Speed.
We’ve all been lucky enough to have a hand in some amazing games over the past few years. Ambient was formed so we could make original games the way we wanted to, directly for the people who play them. If we can do it without a middle-man in the way, then so much the better.
We’re passionate about creating unique, beautiful experiences. Help us make Death Inc. one of those!
Thank you so much for
taking the time to read about our game. If you're
unable to pledge but you still think Death Inc. sounds
like an awesome idea, please share this page with friends and family and help spread
the plague (and news) further.
Like us on Facebook and let us know your
thoughts. We'd love to hear from you, why not email us on firstname.lastname@example.org?
Risks and challenges
Creating games can take a lot of time and things can sometimes take longer than originally planned. We are committed to delivering what we say we will, when we say we will. If for any reason circumstances change, you will be the first to know.
A major risk of any software project is QA (Quality Assurance). We have to ensure that it's up to the standards that we require and you expect. The backer-only alpha will not only allow you to play the game early but it will help us ensure the quality is on track from your feedback.
Not only will you be able to get your hands on the game before anyone else, you'll be able to play an active part in its development by giving us comments, criticism and ideas.
Another interesting challenge is localisation. The demographic of our backers will help us decide into how many languages the game should be translated. If you want to get involved, you could even help us crowdsource the translation, for extra special rewards.
To significantly reduce the technical risk, we are using the well known and widely praised Unity technology platform. This allows our programmers to concentrate on codifying Fun, and our artists on encapsulating Beauty, without the headache of tools development along the way.
We will be completely open about the development of this game by releasing regular dev diaries to keep you, our supporters updated on our progress and we’ll be engaging regularly with everyone on the backers forum regarding important decisions we have to make.
That, my friends, is up to you! The game would be a fantastic fit for touch screen devices, but any additional platform is extra work. We don't want to sell anyone short with promises we can't keep, so please let us know which platforms you'd like to see the game on. If the demand is high enough we will add them at the appropriate stretch goals when the time comes.
Grim's office layout is pre-determined in the same way as some skill trees, but you can choose what rooms to unlock and in what order. The only condition is that players can only unlock rooms that are adjacent to ones already unlocked. You can also customise some rooms in order to improve your troops as well as choosing different employees to hire who can help you research new abilities and skills.
The biggest costs are staff and office overheads. We have an office, which obviously enables us to work much more effectively by being in the same location. And we have 11 staff, each of whom needs to be paid every month.
The whole team is super experienced and that is why we know we can deliver this project in a comparatively short time frame. It's 6-8 months to make a AAA quality game that looks like this, with a comparatively small team.
We did the finances, we costed in the rewards and Kickstarter's cut, and the £300k is really the bare minimum we felt we could realistically ask for without deceiving the backers as to how much the project would really cost.
There won't be other control schemes. Our painting mechanic for controlling your infected horde enables us to create unique puzzles and gameplay that would be incompatible with standard 'drag/select' control schemes.
Many of us at Ambient got into the games industry through the mod scene, so if it is something we can easily support then we will. Our 1st priority is to release the main game, but if there's time then we we'll look into adding additional mod support.
The mechanic of highlighting troops/villagers will remain the same, but visually soldiers are going to look more important and display slightly different information. Soldiers will also have different symbols next to their name, any other titles will be chosen by the backers in our forum.
We would love to have a level creation mode, but doing so will almost double the development time of Death Inc. If we're successful on Kickstarter and receive more than we're asking for then its something we'd consider.
We have a lot of ideas for future content! We see Grim visiting many different time periods across the globe. We could even go into the future. Each time period would offer new enemies to defeat and unique puzzles to solve, as well as new rooms to unlock in the Nether.
- - - - - - - - Villager Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $48 / €36] - - - - - - - Have your name immortalised as a villager in the game! You'll get exclusive access to the Death Inc Beta test (approx. August 2013) and a Kickstarter-only in-game statue for Grim's office. Includes everything in the £15 tier.
- - - - - - Alpha Villager Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $62 / €46] - - - - - - Be the first to play Death Inc! Get access to the exclusive Alpha test, expected June 2013. Includes everything in the £30 tier.
- - - - - Digital Villager Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $70 / €52] - - - - - - You'll get everything in the £40 tier PLUS an extra digital copy of the game (to make TWO!), a digital copy of the soundtrack, a digital copy of the art book and a digital copy of the Death Inc. comic.
IF YOU PREVIOUSLY PLEDGED AT THIS LEVEL YOU NOW GET MORE STUFF - SEE BELOW
Digital Villager Edition!
[Approx $68 / €52]
You'll get everything in the £40 tier PLUS an extra digital copy of the game (to make TWO!), a digital copy of the soundtrack, a digital copy of the art book and a digital copy of the Death Inc. comic.
A ready to print and make papercraft figure of Grim T Livingstone + A digital design doc revealing the dark art that is game design at Ambient Studios!
- - - - Wish You Were Here Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $72 / €54] - - - - - - - Be the envy of your friends and receive a boxed copy of Death Inc including an exclusive pack of custom Death Inc playing cards. Plus you'll get a set of Death Inc "Wish You Were Here" postcards and stickers. Includes everything in the £40 tier.
- - - - - - - - Poxed Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $120 / €90] - - - - - - That's fighting talk: You're upgraded to having a soldier named after you in the game! You'll get the Death Inc. art book, a physical copy of the soundtrack and free access to all future expansions. You'll also get everything else in the £50 tier.
- - - - - - - -Scythed Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $160 / €120] - - - - - - You're upgraded! Your name used as an important target for infection in a level! You'll get an upgraded Special Edition copy of the game signed by the team - including 'old school' game box, printed manual, map and a high-quality print of the Death Inc. comic. You'll also get a Death Inc. T-shirt, your name in the credits and everything else in the £75 tier.
- - - - - - - -Epidemic Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $400 / €298] - - - - - - You're upgraded to become a bonus target for Death Inc employees to reap, and you'll help us design the setting and short backstory for the event. Plus you'll get a large high quality Death Inc poster and a deluxe Hardback art book upgrade, both signed by the team and everything else in the £100 tier.
- - - - - - Jolly Barkeep Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $800 / €595] - - - - - - Ever fancied owning a pub? You'll get to name an in-game tavern, help design its sign and be named the proprietor. You'll get a custom print of your pub's sign and everything else in the £250 tier.
- - - - Name Not A Number Edition! - - - - - - - - [Approx $1600 / €1190] - - - - - Congratulations, you're a Death Inc. employee! Work with us to design your character's look and backstory. You'll get a unique piece of signed and framed concept art of your character! Also you'll get a custom writing set, including a Death Inc. wax seal, sealing wax, parchment, quill and ink. Plus you'll also get your name in the Special Thanks credits of the game and everything else in the £250 tier.
- - - - - - Yes My Lord Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $3038 / €2322] - - - - Always wanted a title, British style? You'll be a nobleman in Death Inc! Together we'll design your coat of arms and livery, and the world will see it in the castle or fort your character owns. Choose your title (e.g. Earl, Lord, Archbishop) and we'll create a character in your likeness, and send you a signed and framed piece of unique concept art of Lord You!
NOT ONLY THAT!
You'll also get a studio visit to see the game being made and for a day long workshop with the team - see how each department works, check out the amazing animation, crazy code, fantastic design and departments and get guided through what we do to make great games. Travel to the UK not included, but a great lunch with the team is + everything else in the £1000 tier.
- - - - - - -A WHOLE HOUSE EDITION!- - - - - - - - - [Approx $4511/€3460] - - - - - - - -
This is a one off model of GRIM T LIVINGSTONE'S house - a mini masterpiece in wood and clay! The house is approx 2ft high, 2ft wide and 1ft deep. Each room has been carefully crafted - gaze in wonder upon the teeny bathroom complete with noose flush and plush bath mats, visit Grim's living room and browse his book collection. Explore the attic and then light the whole thing up at the flick of a switch. There's no doubt that you will be impressed with the level of craftsmanship on display by our artist Jon Eckersley. All the amazing stuff in the £1000 tier will be yours as well.
- - - - - - -Your Grace Edition!- - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $8000 / €5950] - - - - - Now is your time to rule, highness! You are the king or queen in the game: Grim T. Livingstone's prime target! Help design your character and the national coat of arms which will be seen throughout the game. You'll also get a one-off oil portrait of your 17th century likeness. You'll get a studio visit too and everything else in the £1000 tier.